Micro audio player can hide behind a postage stamp

The original iPod shuffle was a pretty small device, there’s no doubt about that. However, in the world of miniature audio players, [Chan] is no slouch either.

A few years ago, he set out to construct a micro audio player that used little more than a small microcontroller and a microSD memory card. He chose an ATinyX5 series microcontroller to run the show, utilizing its pair of PWM output pins to directly drive the speakers. Since there is no built-in amplifier, the audio volume is not loud, but it does sound reasonable if you use a set of high efficiency desktop speakers. He does mention that the sound can easily be amplified after passing the signal through a filter, so there is hope for those of you who like your music turned up to 11.

The only downside we can see is that the audio player can only process Wave files, but it’s hard to expect more from a DIY audio player smaller than a postage stamp. It would be great to see what sort of micro-handiwork [Chan] could perform if he were to update his design and build a full-functioning MP3 player based upon this project.


  1. briack says:

    heads up, link is wrong

  2. thecoshman says:

    Is it me, or has this obsession with tiny music players gone a bit far? Sure it’s cool that he could make this work in such a small space. But if it was at a more sensible size, the sort of size where you don’t accidentally swallow it, you could have much better features. A nice menu system, support for other formats, a much bigger battery as well.

    Not so sure about the ‘need’ for a screen, for a small device, just stick the music that you want to listen to on, and as long as you can skip through tracks, and have shuffle/random play order!

  3. yetihehe says:

    thecoshman – it’s only you. Maybe he needed something small to play long sounds for some toy he is making? It’s purpose is not to be used as a personal music player, but something small that is still able to output some sound. If you need music player with features, make bigger one or buy one.

  4. sobh says:

    Broken link

  5. yetihehe says:

    Also the link is not working.

  6. xorpunk says:

    It’s pretty impressive, and I don’t say that often. Add amp bus+more format support+[cheap touchscreen] and you have no reason to spend hundreds more on designer garbage anymore, and you can replace parts for a sub-decimal-fraction of a designer repair or replacement..

    I’d find the fastest non-BGA(for homebrew ease) controller I could, maybe with amp on the internal audio bus and a good DSP, and base one off that and refine it.

    It probably takes someone who doesn’t have at least hundreds of disposable income every month to appreciate this. Most people will troll it or complain that it isn’t worthy of their self-projected engineering veteran preferences..yawn..go make analog circuits that don’t have practical relevance anymore..

  7. SeeJay says:


    yeah – this is the link url lol


  8. dmcbeing says:

    I love recursion but the link having the entire text of the post is a bit ridiculous.Fix the link plz.

  9. ejonesss says:

    SeeJay your links do not work.

  10. anonymous says:
  11. timbo says:

    His Elm-Chan website is chock full of amazing hacks. He was the guy behind the home-made laser galvos.

  12. Tim says:

    Could you fix the link please?

  13. exo says:

    working link please?

  14. kabukicho2001 said, says:

    Instead of L+R can it be MPX stereo coded to inject in fm oscillator to broadcast in FM

  15. rusty says:

    I want one that does composite video.

  16. intelligentGuy says:

    Chan is one of my favorite heroes. Look at his soldering skills!


    He almost doesn’t need to create a PCB for anything. Thats sick!

  17. Harvie says:

    Do you think that this is capable of driving 16 or 32 ohm headphones (eg.: KOSS Porta Pro?) at listenable volume?

  18. kaye says:

    In the summary it’s mentioned that it doesn’t play mp3s. So what? mp3s suck anyway. I want to see more flac playing hacks.

  19. xorpunk says:

    @Harvie:”Since there is no built-in amplifier, the audio volume is not loud, but it does sound reasonable if you use a set of high efficiency desktop speakers”

    yo..how tu hook to muh subs in ma z?

  20. Hirudinea says:

    He should call it the “i-can’t-find-the-f**king-thing-because-it’s-so-small-damn-small-Pod”.

  21. Steve says:

    I have been following ELM ChaN for a few years now. I agree, his skills are absolutely amazing.

    I have tried SMT point to point soldering before and my work is nothing compared to what he has done. I would be very interested in how he does it.

    Everyone really needs to check out his other projects The explanations are also very detailed and complete. I use this site as a reference.

    Check out is other work!

  22. lol @steve. I just spent half an hour soldering modwires to vias on this myvu bare display, only to find that my attempts to persuade the UV glue to cure had wrecked the conductive glue on the contacts :-(

    “avoid excess bending force and HEAT!” … grr…

    Still, a neat project. Perhaps use an external I2C memory as a buffer so that it can play back compressed files?

  23. gdogg says:

    Very very cool! I like that kind of shit.

  24. xorpunk says:

    @zeropointmodule: this isn’t a forum..try ifailatonewaypseudosavvyconversations.com

  25. ftorama says:


    need some composite video with an AVR?? OK:


  26. Siegfried says:

    that’s brilliant, shame it doesnt play mp3 :)

  27. IJ Dee-Vo says:

    @thecoshman-Because he wanted too?

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